Given how many people are parents, it’s no surprise that parenting is subject to a huge number of adages, ideas, and popular wisdom. Parenting is quite unlike anything else in the world, and that means there’s a huge amount of room for the establishment of common trends and thoughts.
If you have yet to make the journey into parenthood for yourself, you may be wondering which of these adages are actually real. Which adages are actually true of parenting, and which are (at most) the product of popular culture?
Before we delve into the matter further, a quick note on the variable nature of parenthood…
The importance of subjectivity
The parenting experience is very different for every parent. Adages that are true for some parents will not be true for others; so much of the matter is influenced by your personality, your baby’s personality, and the environment in which you live.
With that said, it is also worth noting that some adages do appear to genuinely be felt by the majority of people. So if you’re contemplating parenthood in the near future, it’s likely that you too will find that the following adages are every bit as true as you expected them to be…
ADAGE: You won’t even have the time to finish a cup of coffee
To those without children, the idea that parenting is so non-stop that parents cannot finish a cup of coffee before it goes cold is… well… rather bizarre. Coffee is not exactly a time-consuming beverage, so surely this adage is gilding the lily in an attempt to make a point about how new parents struggle with time management in the early years?
It would appear not; many new parents do, indeed, struggle to find the time to drink a cup of coffee… in a way. Of course parents have the time available in a day to drink coffee, but what they don’t have is the time to drink it before it goes cold. Invariably, in the 20 or so minutes between brewing the coffee and it becoming undrinkable, they find themselves distracted with another parenting-related task.
Thankfully, there’s a relatively simple solution for this that many parents have embraced: thermal mugs, which will keep the coffee warmer for longer. When you find yourself struggling to drink warm beverages before they cool, this is definitely a tip that you’re going to want to remember!
ADAGE: Your priorities shift the moment you become a parent
The next adage we’ll address is also the easiest to confirm, because many new parents are vocal about how their priorities in life change the second that they have children. The desire to nurture and provide for your children is ingrained; an essential part of human nature; and most parents find that they see the world very differently when they have had children.
Most commonly, new parents find that their priorities regarding their career change drastically when their first child is born. You may also find your attitude towards socializing changes, and you’re more than happy to have a night in with the baby rather than heading out on the town.
When you come to having children, you will likely experience the same changes, but it doesn’t need to be alarming— it’s a completely natural shift, and one you will be more than happy to embrace.
ADAGE: Your ability to sleep will be seriously limited
A lot is said about the sleep deprivation that parents experience, yet for some reason, many prospective parents assume that it won’t happen to them. So despite the well-known adages, new parents often find themselves surprised by just how exhausting they find the first few months of their baby’s life.
It is worth noting that the adage is true even when the child is a toddler or older. Many parents find themselves struggling with sleeplessness for years, a problem that tends to be worsened if their children struggle to sleep themselves. While parents can work to ascertain the reasons kids have trouble sleeping, the fact remains that broken nights and sleep deprivation are not the sole preserve of the newborn days.
So, without a doubt, this is one adage that definitely has its roots in reality. If you are set to become a new parent in the future, it’s well worth taking the time to read up on the coping methods you can use to help manage the sleep deprivation you will experience.
ADAGE: The early days can be lonely
Everyone knows that life with a newborn is tough, but what often surprises non-parents is that the early stages of a baby’s life can be incredibly lonely for the parents. However, it’s relatively easy to see why this would be the case. New parents tend to be sleep-deprived, and their children cannot be left alone, so normal social activities become incredibly difficult. Additionally, many new parents find that they and their partner have to sleep in shifts, which means less time spent together.
When the time comes for you to have a child, it’s important to be aware of the fact that this adage is very real. Join a few forums for new parents so you can share your experiences, and invite your friends and family to visit frequently. While these are not perfect solutions, they do go some way to addressing the loneliness issues that new parents experience, so you will want to keep them in mind when it comes to starting your own family.
ADAGE: You’ll worry excessively
The fact that new parents worry is such a common adage that it’s almost become a joke. However, for new parents, the fear they feel regarding their newborn is anything but funny.
The good news is that while this adage is based in truth, it also tends to pass with time. As parents see their child cope and adapt, they are more likely to relax— at least partially, anyway! While the fear will never completely diminish, most parents find that it does ease.
If you experience high levels of worry that don’t ease when you come to have children, then this could be the sign of a burgeoning anxiety disorder, so speak with your doctor to discuss options. No one should leave in a state of perpetual fear and while some increased anxiety is natural for new parents, if this doesn’t begin to ease around the six-month mark, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance.
ADAGE: It will all be worth it
Superficially, life as a parent sounds, well, rather daunting. You’re going to be scared all the time; you’re not going to get enough sleep; and you might experience extreme loneliness in the first few month’s of your baby’s life. Taken in isolation, these basic truths are not exactly a ringing endorsement for parenthood.
However, every parent finds that as difficult and as trying as raising a newborn is, it’s absolutely worth it. The joy that your child will bring to your life is more than enough to compensate for the lost sleep and worry lines, so don’t worry; like all other parents, you’ll have your tough days, but overall, you wouldn’t change the experience for the world.
While the parenting experience is different for everyone, the factors above are ones you will experience more often than not. If you’re planning on starting a family soon, it’s likely you will find yourself experiencing the realities behind the adages that you have heard about for years— with a few additional special moments just for you and your baby.